Jennifer Wen Ma

Brain Storm

8 December 2018 - 20 January 2019


Jennifer Wen Ma (b. 1973, Beijing) lives and works between Beijing and New York. After moving to the United States in 1986, Ma completed a MFA at the Pratt Institute, New York in 1999. Trained as an oil painter, her practice is diverse and spans a wide range of media including site-specific installation, drawing, video, design and performance. By blending a range of cultural influences, drawn from both the East and the West, Ma’s work speaks to the two countries that she considers home.

Brain Storm (2009) is part of a series of ink-wash painting videos that Ma started producing in 2006, inspired by a period of research into Chinese ink painting, following a six month visit to China in 1994. Brain Storm speaks to the traditions of shui-mo (water and ink) and landscape painting, using tonality, density and motion to take viewers on a journey. But rather than a journey through mountains and seasons, Ma depicts a man and horse on a spiritual journey, moving through various emotional states. Created by laboriously dropping ink onto wet glass, and using brushes, water, air and rags to move and control the ink, Brain Storm took over 12 months to complete. 

Brain Storm is part of New Networks: Contemporary Chinese Art, an exhibition that explores aspects of China’s recent art history, by considering significant works held in publicly accessible art collections in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. New Networksis on at the Gallery until 28 April 2019.

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